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Mats Sundin in massive kid's health research gift

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13:42 CET+01:00
Mats Sundin, the ex-Swedish ice hockey great, has donated 2.2 million kronor ($330,000) to researchers at Karolinska University in Stockholm and the University of Toronto, stating the gesture was in thanks of the support he had been given throughout his storied hockey career.

“I have got so incredibly much out of my friends, both in terms of experience and economically. I have searched for a way to give back to Toronto as a city, to the people there and in Sweden,” said Sundin to Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The money was donated to a Swedish-Canadian research project in children's health and cancer research, and comes soon after Sundin's ice-hockey jersey was raised to the rafters of Toronto's Air Canada Centre on Saturday.

The gift will be announced at a Friday press conference in Toronto at 11am local time.

“I believe it's important that every child gets a fair chance at the start of its life. It feels good to be able to help in finding ways to prevent illnesses and to help people along the way,” said Sundin in a statement.

Karolinska Institutet and the University of Toronto have cooperated since 1996 in the reseach of cancer and stem cell biology, among other things.

The money will be used to found the "Mats Sundin Award", which will support an exchange programme between top-level researchers at both institutions.

Each year, two candidates will be selected to participate in the programme in order to advance research into regenerative medicine and neurological development.

"It's excellent that Mats came right now and is giving us resources to develop our cooperation with the University of Toronto. Western medicine has given us lifetimes of 25- to 30-year longer lifespans and we really want these years to be as good as possible,” said Ola Hermanson, senior researcher at the Karolinksa Institute, in a statement.

Mats Sundin enjoyed a career as one of Sweden's most legendary ice hockey players, with a 20 year professional run that included 1,346 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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He retired in 2009.

Sundin was also the most prolific scorer for the Swedish national team, Tre Kronor, between 1991 and 2006 and helped lead the team to a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.

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